Microsoft Azure is a set of cloud computing services provided by Microsoft to develop, test, deploy and manage the application services, by utilizing the vast environment of Microsoft data centers. Either you want to enhance an existing application by adding a new capability or you want to develop a new application; Microsoft Azure gives to flexibility to do the things of your own.  

It gives you the efficiency of cloud computing by providing a public cloud environment that gives you smooth integration, easy scalability and high accessibility, and robust performance.

Who are the users and how Azure helps them gear up with cloud?

Microsoft Azure targets and benefits a range of users by providing Storage, Networking, Analytics, and Computing of data sets in a cloud environment.

Microsoft Azure Services 

azure cloud services

Storage: Microsoft Azure Offers multiple storage services (Microsoft Azure Blobs, Microsoft Azure Files, Microsoft Azure Table, and Disk Storage).

Networking:  Microsoft Azure VM, Microsoft Azure CDN, Microsoft Azure Traffic Manager, Microsoft Azure VPN Gateway, Microsoft Azure DNS and so on. 

Analytics: Microsoft Azure Stream Analytics, Microsoft Azure Analysis Service, Data Factory, Microsoft Azure DataBricks on so on. 

Computing: Microsoft Azure VM, Service Fabric, App service and so on.

  • Students
  • Developers
  • Cloud architects
  • Administrators
  • AI Engineers
  • Business Analysts
  • Data Engineers
  • Data Scientists
  • Virtual Machine specialist

Microsoft Azure gives you the ease of hosting your application in a highly secure environment without any fear of losing important assets (data). You can handle a wide range of customer demand by just integrating into this environment without dealing with load balancing on your database. It speeds up process timing and keeps you ahead in service. This ecosystem is so flexible that one can compute huge data sets most simply. Microsoft Azure manages and cares about the server downtime as well and keeps the highly available application running all the time.

How to get started with Microsoft Azure?

Microsoft offers a wide range of cloud platforms and services in the categories of IaaS and PaaS, SaaS. Wherein one needs to understand and identify, which service he/she might need to support the application architecture.  

Microsoft Azure as IaaS: It gives you full control of the Application Hosting.

Microsoft Azure as PaaS: Fully managed services required to enhance your Application Service. 

Microsoft Azure as SaaS: Most commonly used cloud-based Apps such as your email, Office Tools (Microsoft Office 365), and calendaring. 

iaas-paas-azure

Microsoft Azure Documentation helps the users to identify the commonly used Microsoft Azure services. You can also refer the Microsoft Azure portal to help you easily manage all the services. It also gives developers the flexibility to use various API and SDK to program for their specific need.

Do you need to run your entire application infrastructure or Just want to run as a Virtual Machine (VM)

Options are broad such as

  • You can use the application management facility.
  • Serverless Framework to host code execution as per your need.
  • You can use cloud storage as required with several available options.
  • You can utilize Microsoft Azure enterprise authentication.
  • OR, Cloud-based development and monitoring platform.
  • Also, Most hosting services offers DevOps integration.

DevOps

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Build, Validate, Deploy and Maintain your Application. It enhances your development speed by integrating Development + Operations.

How Microsoft Azure Supports Application Hosting?

Microsoft Azure helps you to operate into a high-performance interface through various services, so you require no infrastructure or hardware components to support your application. It easily scales up and scales out as per your need. 

Microsoft Azure is a developer-friendly platform, it gives you a completely serverless environment where you can code and customize your requirements.

App Services by Microsoft Azure 

Microsoft Azure App Services is the quirkiest way to deploy web-based projects. It facilitates REST APIs, so it's easy to expand web apps and provide extensive services to your mobile clients. Microsoft Azure offers a wide range of containers for continues deployment of your applications. It authenticates the service by social providers and gives you traffic based auto-scaling support.

Microsoft Azure is a one-stop solution for those who want to develop web-based Apps, Mobile Apps Back Ends, and API apps by reducing the infrastructure-related burdens. 

Calling three services at a time cause the same run time, you can run your mobile apps, call API service and host a website at the same time in this extensive environment. Microsoft Azure gives you a huge repository  of Azure Documentation to know about its services as per your specific needs. Apps services are designed considering the DevOps concepts. 

Microsoft Azure Tools for Publishing and continues Integration deployment 

How you can use Microsoft Azure App Services

  • You can migrate your existing application into Microsoft Azure.
  • If you need fully managed and self-controlled web hosting features Microsoft Azure serves your needs.
  • If you need support for a mobile client or need to utilize REST API features in your App. 
  • So, you can get started with the Web App, Mobile App, or API App just in three steps. 
  • Select App Type -> Select Template->Work with your App
  • You can work with short apps without having an Microsoft Azure account.

Microsoft Azure VM (Virtual Machine)

Microsoft Azure IaaS platform lets you migrate or deploy a new application into Windows and Linux virtual machines. With this VM you will have the total monitoring, and configuration control of the VM. Virtual Network works together with VM and serves you with Microsoft Azure service streams. Like any normal cloning of VM in you’re personal computer you required to be responsible for all servers software installation, configuration, maintenance, and OS (Operating System) patches. 

You can operate the wide range of Vm’s because of having an advanced level of control to the environment. Activities such as Data Workload (data servers), Windows servers active directory, and SharePoint can be easily manageable. You can refer to the Linux or Windows VM documentation from the Microsoft Azure website. 

The advantage is the full control of the application infrastructure or migrating existing applications on-premises,  the load can be easily tacked with Microsoft Azure.

Microsoft Azure Serverless Functions

We mostly deal with issues related to creating own infrastructure for the application support, so much hardware configuration is required to support your application. Microsoft Azure simplifies the requirement by giving freedom to run your code without any existing hardware setup and get the expected results. 

Microsoft Azure function allows you to write the code of your need (best for developers). You can trigger the function by using HTTP requests, cloud service events, webhooks, on a specified schedule. 

You can choose the development language of your choice such as python, .Net, PHP, Node. js and so on. Even you don’t need to worry about the charges applied for this service, you just need to pay the consumable amount during your code execute on the platform. It will be latterly scalable as per your need. 

Usage: You can use this feature when you have code that triggers other Microsoft Azure services or when you do not want to handle an entire hosting platform. Just code your need and pay as per utility/consumable. Check more details about Microsoft Azure function Overview on the Microsoft Azure website.

Again, You do not need to Sign- Up for an Microsoft Azure Account to try this feature. 

Microsoft Azure Distributed System (Microsoft Azure Service Fabric)

If you are thinking of micro-services, Microsoft Azure distributed system will give you the freedom to build, package, deploy, manage a reliable and scalable set of micro services. It will provide you easily understandable, smoothly accessible, and error-free environment to boost your application management capability. 

  • Developing 
  • Deploying 
  • Monitoring 
  • Maintaining  
  • Upgrading/Patching 
  • Deleting 

When you required to run your apps into shared pools, you can run it into one and latter scale it to unlimited machines as needed. 

Microsoft Azure service fabric can be used with WebAPI which has Web Interface for ASP.Net and .Net.  It also provides SDK for helping .Net and JAVA. 

Usage: When you want to trigger microservices through an existing application or building the new one.

Application Enhancement with Microsoft Azure Services

Microsoft Azure enhances application functionality along with application hosting. It enhances the development and maintenance of the application through both the channels of cloud and In-Premises infrastructures. 

Storage for web hosting and Data Accessibility with Microsoft Azure 

Most application depends on data storage. How well you store, process and retrieve data defines the reliability of the application. It offers a wide range of database services to enhance data storage experience. 

Microsoft Azure also helps you with Microsoft Azure Data Factory to move and migrate your existing database to the Microsoft Azure cloud.

Containers support by Microsoft Azure 

Containers work as same as your development and test-based systems. Docker container by Microsoft Azure is a form of OS Visualization, which gives you more scope to deploy the application more predictably. 

What is a Container?

A container is a software unit that packages the codes and dependencies in a single bundle and helps you run the codes efficiently and quickly in a safe environment. 

This Docker container can be managed by standard Docker Tools.  Existing open-source tools can be also used to deploy your application in Docker Container. 

Ways to use Container in Application

  • Microsoft Azure Docker VM Extension
  • Microsoft Azure Kubernetes Services
  • Docker Machine 
  • Custom Docker image for App Services

Monitoring and Control to Authorized Access

It’s very important to track and monitor that who and how can access your application or services provided by that. Microsoft Azure provides you several ways to authenticate your app clients. 

Microsoft Azure Active Directory (Microsoft Azure AD): Microsoft offers multi-tenant service which monitors identity and manages access to the service. You can create an individual sign in for your application using Microsoft Azure AD. The directory properties are accessible through Microsoft Azure AD Graph API or Microsoft API directly. You can integrate REST/HTTP API or Multi-Platform authentication library. 

Usage: If you want to experience a single sign-on into the application Microsoft Azure AD is the solution for you.

App Service Authentication

Microsoft Azure AD gives you built-in authentication support for App Service Authentication. It also integrates you with social identity providers such as Google, Facebook, Microsoft, and Twitter. Simply you can onboard by using any of these accounts. 

Monitoring 

The moment your application is running well and good in Microsoft Azure setup. You need to monitor the performance of the application. Such as customer usages, Application issues and so on. 

Application Insights 

Microsoft Azure gives you deep insights into your running application to improve the reliability of that. It helps you get the deepest analytics of data which defines the application capability and flaws. 

Microsoft Azure Monitor  

It gives you the flexibility to visualize, query, route, archive and act on the metrics and logs generated by Microsoft Azure Infrastructure.

Microsoft Azure Regions 

Microsoft Azure is Region neutral Cloud; It means is available worldwide almost all specified region in the globe. You need to act smart and do a little reasoning while choosing your hosting region for your application. The region you choose is going to make an impact on application performance. If you are targeting a specific region customer you need to choose the closest region for your target type. This way you reduce the latency of the network request and decrease the response time as well. 

The region defines your specific data center  to run and store your application data. If you are hosting your data center nearer it is always good to store your data in that region itself. 

Multi-reason data canters are also preferable by most of the vital business groups. Though it's almost impossible for a data center  to fail and lost internet connectivity it’s always a good option to host in multiple data centers because it reduces the risk of natural disasters as well and increases the response timing.

 

Cloud Microsoft Azure Amazon AWS Google Cloud Platform
Compute Services IaaS Virtual Machine Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud Google Compute Engine
PaaS App Service and Cloud Services AWS Elastic Beanstalk Google App Engine
Container Microsoft Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS) Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud Container Service Google Kubernetes Engine
Serverless Functions Microsoft Azure Functions AWS Lambda Google Cloud Functions
DataBase Services No-SQL Key-Value/Index Table Storage, Microsoft Azure Cosmos DB Amazon Dynamo DB, Amazon SimpleDB Google Cloud DataStore, BigTable
RDBM SQL Database Amazon Relational Database Service Google Cloud SQL
Storage Services Object Storage Disk Storage Amazon Simple Storage Service Google Cloud Storage
Block Storage Blob Storage Amazon Elastic Block Store Google Compute Engine Persistent Disks
Cloud Storage Microsoft Azure Archive Blob Storage Amazon Glacier Google Cloud Storage Nearline
File Storage Microsoft Azure File Storage Amazon Elastic File System ZFS/Avere
Networking Services VM Virtual Networks (VNets Amazon Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) Virtual Private Cloud
Elastic Load Balancer  Load Balancer Elastic Load Balancer Google Cloud Load Balancing 
Peering Express Route Direct Connect Google Cloud Interconnect
DNS  Microsoft Azure DNS Amazon Route 53 Google Cloud DNS